Probate is a court-supervised process that transfers a deceased person’s assets to his or her beneficiaries. Although it is possible to avoid the probate process by creating an estate plan, not everyone chooses to do so. And, unfortunately, it is not uncommon for problems to arise during probate. In this article, we examine common problems that can arise during Florida probate.
Probate administration occurs following a person’s death. Therefore, probate is often a highly emotional process for everyone involved, and it can cause conflict between family members. Unfortunately, such disagreements can delay and complicate the probate process. Common reasons that family conflicts arise during probate include:
- The deceased person’s will contains unclear or ambiguous language
- Family members disagree about the distribution of estate property
- Beneficiaries are excluded from the will
- Family members disagree about the sale of estate assets to pay off debts
Issues With the Personal Representative
A party who is named to act as an estate’s personal representative must perform several actions when probating a deceased person’s estate. This individual’s inability or refusal to fulfill his or her duties can result in delays and significantly add to the expense of the probate process. Therefore, it’s important for the person who assumes the role of personal representative to understand the time and effort required to do the job properly. When there is a problem with a personal representative, there is a procedure available to remove him or her from the position.
Occasionally, beneficiaries and other interested parties decide to challenge the validity of a deceased person’s will. And when a will is contested, it can cause several problems during the probate process. To contest a will in the state of Florida, the person filing the will contest must have legal grounds to challenge the document. Unfortunately, the challenging party must prove this in court, and this can delay the probate process significantly.
Finally, if a person leaves behind a lot of debt when he or she passes away, this can increase the amount of time required to settle the estate. Specifically, in Florida, a deceased person’s assets cannot be distributed to his or her beneficiaries until the estate’s debts are determined.
The Bottom Line
Given everything that can go wrong during probate in Florida, it is necessary to obtain legal assistance before beginning the process. An experienced Florida probate attorney will guide you through the process while addressing any problems that occur along the way.
Contact a Florida Probate Attorney
If you need assistance with a probate issue in Florida, the Law Office of Angela Siegel is on your side. When you come to us for help with your Florida probate problem, founding attorney Angela Siegel will put her considerable experience to work on your behalf. Please contact us as soon as possible to schedule a free initial consultation with our talented Florida probate attorney.